Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust


Directed by Baba Yasuo

This is another happy pill from the folks at Fuji Television to take away all your worries for at least 2 hours. Fuji specializes in these types of feel good films that manage to appeal to both your funny bone as well as that soft spot in your emotional center. Think of Bayside Shakedown, Swing Girls, Leave it to the Nurses and Udon as points of reference. No doubt inspired by Back to the Future (with a reference to a DeLorean included), a young woman has to return to the past to not only save her mom but Japanís economy as well. Itís 2007 and Japanís famous economic bubble of the 1990ís has popped badly and the country is now on the verge of total economic collapse with everyone hocked up to their eye lids with debt and a nasty looking collector on their doorstep.

Finance Ministry official Shimokawaji (Hiroshi Abe) has determined that the genesis of this bubble and the ensuing trouble can be pinpointed to a misguided law that Japan passed in 1990. When he finds out that an old friend, Mariko (the legendary Hiroko Yakushimaru), has accidentally discovered a time machine while trying to build a new and improved washing machine, he sends her back to that year to try and stop the law from passing in the legislature. But she has now dropped from sight and so he turns to her bar hostess daughter Mayumi (Ryoko Hirosue) to follow her mother back into the past.

So Mayumi dons a wet suit, climbs into the sudsy washing machine and finds herself back in 1990 where the bubble is swelling with good times and disco is still going strong. There she manages to run into Shimokawaji as a young man Ė who wants very much to seduce her Ė her younger mom, herself and various future Japanese celebrities that she gives career advice to. It is great fun leading up to a crazy Pink Pantheresque finale (with Bond music) as she comes across a conspiracy to topple Japan by outside forces. Not exactly brain surgery but a good time for most.

My rating for this film: 7.5